That is the opening line to a series of extremely succesful game-play videos produced, filmed, and posted (on YouTube) by a guy named “Hutch” (he’s made over 200 of them). Hutch is a prime example of an interesting video game spin-off culture. These are avid, expert gamers who make screencasts of their own game play on such intensive first-person-shooter games as Halo, Call of Duty, Crysis, and MMORPGs (massively, multi-player online role-playing games) like World of Warcraft. These videos are extremely well done and enjoy loyal followings, nearly hero status, really. This example of Hutch’s work already has nearly half a million views. But my personal favorite is this one of Hutch and his mom – Debbie – narrating the video together, with his mom chiming in and supporting him. A classic.
I find this phenomenon fascinating. My high school-aged son tells me that, for him, it’s like televised sports – but better. When he watches these videos, he sees expert action in an arena familiar to him. And, unlike a baseball fan watching a major league baseball player, my son might actually be able to attain the level of expertise evidenced in the screencast. He learns from these videos – tips, techniques, strategies, approaches to the game – that he can then turn around and apply to his own gaming. According to the web site, machima.com, 40 million unique video gamers view over 350 million videos per month. This is a new major culture that’s spun off the video gaming industry.
What’s more the creators of these videos narrate their play. So as you’re watching the expert duck around corners, load their weapons, and make split-second decisions, they explain what they are doing – providing insight, humor, and revealing their secrets as they play. It’s like having a faithful (and extremely hip) teacher right by your side, guiding and supporting your learning. Hmmm….what could we education types learn from this example?